Upon Further Review – Observations from the PSU Game

WestCoastIrishFan made some great points over on the Football Board today so I’m reposting them here so they don’t get lost amongst all of the doom and gloom posts filling up the board today. Enjoy…

Got to love Tivo. I was a defensive player so I look at offesnive schemes more from a defensive than offensive side. While still disappointed, I don’t think we are as far away as I believe last night during the game. We aren’t going to blow out anyone, though.


  • O-line has three major stuggles.
    • they often lead with their heads which destroys the leverage they need to beat a d-lineman
    • anytime someone crosses their face, they seem confused as to if they should stay with the guy or look for someone else (curious if anyone knows the typical line rule here)
    • They struggle with the speed rush from the outside (but so do a lot of teams)
  • Clausen missed some opportunities, but it looked more like timing than anything else. True there was a stiff rush but he missed Carlson on his scramble for a first down, could have hit Paris on the curl after Zibby’s punt return and missed, I believe West, down the seam early in the game and took a sack.
  • I apprecate the fact we have so many solid TE’s, but keeping two or three within the box is making it easier for LB’s and others to blitz. There were many plays where PSU had as many as 11 guys within 10 yards of the center. This fact alone is what makes CW’s offense look so predictable on TV; everyone is bunched together.
  • Our pass routes put little pressure on the db’s to make a decision..do I stay with this guy, squat or let him cross the field? If you watch an offense like Spurrier’s, he puts tremendous pressure on DB’s to make a decision. (TV doesn’t allow for a full field view)
  • I counted Aldridge in for two plays. Not sure what the scoop is here, but I’d like to at least see if this guy is for real. Of the three playing, he seemed most uneasy with pass blocking, though.


  • once again, played well until they got tired, although I’d like to see a little more intensity. The DL is really playing well, although I’d like to see a little more penetation at times. The 3-4, however, is about holding your ground and letting the LB’s roam from sideline-to-sideline, so they are doing very well. Laws and Brown are both playing into top 3 round draft choices. The DT for PSU was a beast. D looks very disciplined vs. a fly to the ball mentality. The will prevent making or giving up the big play.
  • lots of man-to-man which is a testament to the cover skills of the corners.
  • many bad angles taken by the LB’s and Zibby led to increased yardage
  • LB’s don’t fill the holes very quickly (PSU excelled here)
  • Bruton needs to come up quicker on running plays
  • the 3-4 allows for the zone blitz, but I’ve yet to see that
  • erry Neal and Richardson are very tough off the edge. In fact, Neal is the only LB I’ve seen that can actually push a lineman back, he must be strong as an ox, because he owned both the TE and Tackle of PSU. He needs to be on the field more often.

What I saw overall was a very disciplined PSU team, an ND team that was still in it into the 4th quarter and a need for a little more aggressive play calling from both the O and D. The O-line has potential, but it definitely needs to work on its drive blocking and assignments. Duncan probably doesn’t have the quickness needed to play left tackle. I definitely expected more from the team last night, but I’m not sure CW did. There comes a point in time when you just have to open up the stable and let the stallions run.”

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  1. I think CW is waiting for the”Click”
    He’s waiting for the Offence to “Click” and He’s waitng for the defence to “Click”.
    This is CW first real team. These are his guy’s and they fit into his “vision” of ND football.
    I’d like to see a few more 2007 weapons on the field.:) Where’s Tate and Ragone at? Tate’s a nice tall and fast target as a #2 WR ..heck put him in the slot and see’s what happens.:) What about Mike Ragone? He’s a nice receiving TE for Jimmy. Plus he can run block!
    As for the O-line..they’re working it out. The core is in Cinci now;) Someone will step up and take the boss job..it’s only a matter of time. Patience..Patience..
    I liked what I saw from Allen. Inside or bounching out-side Allen was in his element. He was a work horse in HS..CW should keep him in his element.:)
    With that being said..I wish Travis would of stayed LB too lead the young grp.:( With the 3-4 Defence Travis would of made a GREAT LB in scheme. He can Runstop, Pass coverage, and Pass rush at any given time. He’s the perfect 3-4 LB. IMHO I hope he didn’t hurt his draft prospects by going back RB.
    As for the Secondary..Zib’s got it undercontrol!:)Boxer,Baseball, and Football..yea NP!! The Secondary looked Good to me. I’d like to some more contact at the line to throw off those timing patterns. I’d like to see Gary Gray get some snaps in. We was a monster in HS….lets see what he can do with the big boys.:)
    I think we as students,alum, and supporters need to look to the future. This is the first “TRUE” CW team. CW has been working with TW classes un-till really now.
    I understand that the next couple of seasons are going to be rough. This is a NEW ND football team I’m watching being formed in front of me..and I like it!

  2. I like the post as well. Jimmy looked decent but CW kept it so conservative that the D line just loaded up the box. There were like 10 people it always seemed right up to the line when we had 2 tight end sets. Michigan D backs are pretty terrible. I watched the game vs. Oregon and they looked very slow and confused. I think CW should use a lot of PA passing. Im not going to go as far as saying DJ might do better with the “spread” but its always a thought. Henne will be out and Mallet will be in. Two freshman qb’s going at it should be fun. Mallet has a great arm but is not accurate at all. He overthrough his recievers so many times. I think we can get this W if our offense can score and I think we will be able to with this soft Michigan D.

  3. frank,

    1. thanks for the post from the west coast irish fan. he made some great points.

    2. there is one more key. that is the chemistry lost because of clausen’s rehab from the surgery in april.

    3. the decision for clausen to have the minor surgery was the correct one, both for him and for nd, since he played through his entire senior season in high school in pain from that injury and still got chosen as the high school player of the year.

    4. charlie’s only option was to have the offense practice as if any of the qbs were playing, but there is no substitute for real game experience with the starting qb.

    5. charlie has the talent and we have faith that the offensive chemistry will catch sooner rather than later this season, but we are certain that it will.

    6. as for the refs, they were from the big east and we have not finished our film analysis as yet. perhaps they called the game fairly. however, it sure did not look that way. it looked as if they had loaded up on bets that penn state would beat the 171/2 pt spread.
    7. if they were crooked, we will make them infamous on youtube, along with the usual economic sanctions.
    8. there should be another big east crew at the big house for the game that dan wetzel has accurately, for right now, called the toilet bowl.
    9. in the meantime, the south bend tribune’s resident historian, joe doyle, got it right in his story of 9/7/2007″ it could be- and it has been-worse”, putting what seems like an 0-2 disaster start in detailed historical perspective.
    10. we have faith in charlie, in his staff, and in the nd players whom he recruited in 2006 and 2007.
    11. they are missing only the real game experience that makes that team chemistry gel.
    12. charlie and the nd players are not going into the tank and neither are we.

    many thanks for your fine work and for keeping the faith,

    bob gilleran

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